FLATULENCE GIMMICK = RED ROOSTER
Natalya Neidhart is a good-looking woman with decent ring talent and acumen for the wrestling business.
WWE wants her to be the girl with uncontrollable flatulence.
Neidhart should quit. Immediately.
For one thing, she’s a member of the Hart family. She should have more self-respect.
For another, the gimmick has no upside. It’s not funny to anyone with more maturity than an 11-year-old boy. It’s obviously never going to draw money. What sort of storyline could possibly be furthered by flatulence?
And if you think the gimmick is unfunny now, wait until it moves into the ring and affects matches.
If Neidhart continues, this gimmick could be all she’s ever remembered for. This is Terry Taylor territory. He could never escape being The Red Rooster. Neidhart will always be the girl with the flatulence. Better to interrupt your career than have one that can’t be resurrected.
Somebody with Neidhart’s background lives for wrestling and nothing else. WWE knows that, and exploits it.
But it would be better not to work in wrestling than continue with this. This should be living proof to Neidhart that wrestling is neither glamorous nor noble. This puts flipping burgers and shoveling manure in a good light.
It’s humiliation for the sake of humiliation. Management gets to snicker at Neidhart in the executive office. No performer should put up with that. Neidhart should walk.
By way of personal experience:
When I co-hosted WCW Monday Nitro, Vince Russo interfered in a match and got his shirt torn off. Scott Hudson ridiculed his physique. When we got next week’s script, it called for the announcers to work shirtless: Hudson, Tony Schiavone and me. That was Russo’s storyline “punishment.”
I went to Schiavone, my immediate supervisor, and said, “Look, I’m not doing this.” My reasoning: My character had been Russo’s heel sycophant. I had chastised Hudson for making fun of “Mr. Russo.” Why would Russo punish me?
Eric Bischoff got involved: “He’s a mean bastard.”
Nope. That made no sense. Illogical. This was an excuse to have the big, fat guy out there without a shirt. Humiliation for the sake of humiliation. Human cockfighting. It would affect my radio career. It would be tough to live down.
So, I excused myself and prepared to leave.
But the script got tweaked. Only Hudson had to work without a shirt. That made sense. Management backed down.
I wasn’t bluffing. I was willing to quit. Wrestling was a lucrative, fun job – but not worth permanent embarrassment. I’m not a mark now. I wasn’t a mark then.
It wasn’t like I refused to do anything that made me look bad. Tank Abbott stripped me to my waist when he beat the crap out of me. But I did it, because there was a payoff, namely establishing Tank’s random lunacy by which he held WCW hostage. (Remember when he pulled a knife?)
I wrestled twice (oh, boy) and had a protective cup jammed in my face by Gene Okerlund. Real highlight there. But, ultimately, that storyline was going to lead to me being intergender champ (like Andy Kaufman) and, ultimately, getting my ass kicked by Madusa. Money? No. Legit booking? Yes. (TBS killed it: No man-on-woman violence allowed. Praise Jesus.)
None of that was flattering. But there was logical thought. So I did it. (BTW, I thought that Tank’s assault would lead to me being written off TV. But I was back next week, face properly bruised. I hid under the announce table when Tank came out. Tank: “Don’t even look at me, fatass.” God bless Tank Abbott. Good guy. Light as a feather.)
If you signed a wrestling contract hoping to protect your vanity, you came to the wrong place.
But you shouldn’t have to be a laughingstock for no reason. Neidhart’s flatulence gimmick has no possible gain.
Neidhart should walk. If she doesn’t, things will get worse. More embarrassing. Doing a flatulence gimmick isn’t being a team player. It’s being stupid. If it’s money, ask Randy Orton to do it. Or Mark Henry. See what those guys think about it.
I’ve been beating this drum for what seems like eternity, but here we go again: One of WWE’s biggest problems is that no one scripting it knows how to be funny. Worse yet, what’s thought to be funny is decidedly not. WWE needs a comedian on staff for quality control.
I don’t see how bathroom humor like a flatulence gimmick fits into PG-13, either. I don’t see how it fits into anything.
THE MADDEN CHALLENGE: UPDATE
Last month, I asked readers to propose potential payoffs resulting from the climax of the Jan. 16 Raw which featured a showdown between C.M. Punk, John Laurinaitis and Mick Foley. I wanted short and concise. I got rambling gibberish. I got over three dozen e-mails. None that could be used.
Note to IWC: Brevity and coherence are your friends. Well, my friends, anyway. I see more than one graf, I delete.
The winner of the MADDEN CHALLENGE: Me. By default.
Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM,Pittsburgh, PA (105.9)